This is NOT the Nobel Symposium panel with Jeff Sachs and others, for which the video isn’t available yet. It IS a 3-minute clip of a talk Bill gave at the Swedish think tank Timbro while he was in Stockholm.

Just announced:

The Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE) is proud to announce that the Adam Smith Award winner for 2013 will be William Easterly of New York University. APEE describes the award as follows:

“The Adam Smith Award is .. is given to recognize an individual who has made a sustained and lasting contribution to the perpetuation of the ideals of a free market economy as first laid out in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. The recipient of this award must be an individual who has acquired an international reputation as an eloquent scholar and advocate of free enterprise and the system of entrepreneurship which underlies it…”

Previous award winners include Nobel Prize winners James Buchanan, Vernon Smith, Douglass North, and Elinor Ostrom, and other leading economic thinkers such as Armen Alchian, Robert Barro, Harold Demsetz, Allan Meltzer, and Gordon Tullock…

Easterly’s work is not just a critique of efforts at development planning due to perverse incentives, bureaucratic bottlenecks, and errors in economic calculation, but also contains a deep understanding of the role of the entrepreneurial market process in lifting individuals out of poverty and producing a social order of freedom, dignity, peace, and prosperity. Economic development follows from a society of free and responsible individuals; who participate in a market economy based on profit and loss; who participate in a political regime governed by principle, not privilege; and live in a society that exhibits neither discrimination nor dominion…

Easterly will be honored on Sunday, April 14th, 2013 at the opening banquet of the annual meetings of APEE. This years conference will be held at the Sheraton-Maui. Here is the call for papers, please consider submitting a paper and/or a panel for the meetings.

From the Wall Street Journal, by Daniel Lippman:

European settlement had a longstanding positive effect on economic development in countries that were colonies, notwithstanding the terrible effects of Western diseases and political oppression that often resulted, according to new research.

The paper, titled “The European Origins of Economic Development,” was written by New York University’s William Easterly and UC Berkeley’s Ross Levine, who set out to build a new comprehensive database of the European share of the population in the early phases of colonization. It also looked at the impact of the settlers on the former colonies’ economic development today.

In an “illustrative exercise” that the two professors run in their paper, they find that “47% of average global development levels today are attributable to Europeans.”

What could accounts for that large number? The paper argues that it could partly be explained because “Europeans brought growth-promoting characteristics — such as institutions, human capital, connections with international markets, and cultural norms — that diffused to the rest of the population over generations.”

A large number of commentators generously congratulated the authors on being obvious, wrong, and racist.

You may find the NBER link to the paper above to be restricted. If so, here is an unrestricted link.

By Gregg Gonsalves

Lant Pritchett—a Professor of the Practice of International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School—has been leading a campaign against the election of Jim Kim to the World Bank presidency.   While he isn’t the only critic of Dr. Kim’s nomination, he is among the most vocal, prominent and well known.   Though his views are his own, many of them have been amplified and echoed by other leading development economists like William Easterly at New York University and several people associated with the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC.

Over the past few weeks, Pritchett has questioned Kim’s qualifications, saying a lack of training in economics and experience in world finance should disqualify him from consideration for the post. He has further suggested that the nomination is about the arrogance of American power and hegemony over the institution and that he should step aside for a merit-based election in which the Nigerian candidate for the post, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a World Bank, Harvard and MIT alum and finance minister of Nigeria would sweep to victory. Read More →